Concurrent optical imaging spectroscopy and laser-Doppler flowmetry: the relationship between blood flow, oxygenation, and volume in rodent barrel cortex

Neuroimage. 2001 Jun;13(6 Pt 1):1002-15. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2001.0808.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is based on the coupling between neural activity and changes in the concentration of the endogenous paramagnetic contrast agent deoxygenated hemoglobin. Changes in the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal result from a complex interplay of blood volume, flow, and oxygen consumption. Optical imaging spectroscopy (OIS) has been used to measure changes in blood volume and saturation in response to increased neural activity, while laser Doppler Flowmetry (LDF) can be used to measure flow changes and is now commonplace in neurovascular research. Here, we use concurrent OIS and LDF to examine the hemodynamic response in rodent barrel cortex using electrical stimulation of the whisker pad at varying intensities. Spectroscopic analysis showed that stimulation produced a biphasic early increase in deoxygenated hemoglobin (Hbr), followed by a decrease below baseline, reaching minima at approximately 3.7 s. There was no evidence for a corresponding early decrease in oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO(2)), which simply increased after stimulation, reaching maximum at approximately 3.2 s. The time courses of changes in blood volume (CBV) and blood flow (CBF) were similar. Both increased within a second of stimulation onset and peaked at approximately 2.7 s, after which CBV returned to baseline at a slower rate than CBF. The changes in Hbr, Hbt, and CBF were used to estimate changes in oxygen consumption (CMRO(2)), which increased within a second of stimulation and peaked approximately 2.2 s after stimulus onset. Analysis of the relative magnitudes of CBV and CBF indicates that the fractional changes of CBV could be simply scaled to match those of CBF. We found the relationship to be well approximated by CBV = CBF(0.29). A similar relationship was found using the response to elevated fraction of inspired carbon dioxide (FICO(2)).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Blood Volume / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Laser-Doppler Flowmetry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Oxyhemoglobins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / blood supply*
  • Vibrissae / innervation*


  • Hemoglobins
  • Oxyhemoglobins
  • deoxyhemoglobin